*ALL the Viewpoints* – Differences in Style Series #3

Annnd I’m back *finally* with another of my “differences in style” pieces. The point of this series is largely to talk about different techniques/styles, while acknowledging a lot of these choices come down to different tastes. Since this is such a common topic, I’m going to be specifically talking about my personal views on viewpoints, some of the ways it can work well and some of the pitfalls of each POV. Let’s get into it!

style orangutan logo

First Person Point of View

Kinda what it says on the tin. The benefit of First Person is you get to see the inner workings of one character (usually the mc). There is also “first person peripheral”, which means it’s not the narrator is not the protagonist, instead forcing the reader to view the story through a prism of someone else’s experience. As with The Great Gatsby, it can be used to great effect.

gatsby

Second Person Point of View

stolenThis can be interesting. Okay, I can’t lie, I don’t much like the use of second person for an entire book. Still, I will admit it can be intriguing for certain concepts, like Stolen, where it’s used to address a kidnapper. And I know a lot of people love how unique that is- so again, yay for personal taste!

However, there are lots of pitfalls. It can feel quite gimmicky, especially if there’s no clear reason for it. Also, one mistake I’ve seen is making it unclear who is being addressed. Also, unless it is a “choose your own adventure” book, it doesn’t really make sense to address the protagonist, who is a particular character, as “you” (I saw this in Half Bad and wasn’t a fan).

night circusOn the other hand, I love occasional uses, like the effect it has in Night Circus to make readers feel like the audience. Even better is when it’s used by a narrator to break the forth wall (gotta love Deadpool!)

 

 

deadpool.gif

Third Person Limited

This is basically narration limited to one character (and largely encompasses the “deep pov” perspective as well). It’s great for writing more intense close ups of a single character.

Third Person Multiple

Basically as above, just with more than one character. Usually this switch is between chapters. The part where this can get tricky is when it comes to *DANGER UP AHEAD* head hopping territory. I’m going to say something controversial now: I don’t think it’s guaranteed to be bad. I think even this can be done well, in a way that’s not noticeable or makes sense. The biggest issue that can arise is that it can be confusing. Throne_of_Glass_UKHowever, I’ve seen people critique authors like Maas for this, and personally I think she sometimes uses it to great effect or for a reason (like a very intense romantic scene). Obviously I can’t argue with individuals who didn’t like it or found it disorientating, but I have to point out, since this is the whole point of this series, that this is a personal taste thing and I don’t always see it as a problem. Unless it’s unclear to me who is thinking what, or someone has knowledge of thoughts they can’t possibly know, then chances are I won’t bat an eye. I mean, there are exceptions to every rule (even when it comes to “not being able to read minds”, you can have a telepathic character in fantasy, so…)

On this POV, the only question that remains to be asked is: can a book have too many POVs? The answer is, well, yeah. Apart from the issue of character soup, if there’s no real differentiation between characters, all of them can blur together and become feast for crowsdisorientating. Not to mention how unnecessary it can be. Even with books I like, there can be additions that feel superfluous to the plot (*coughs* the later GOT books #sorrynotsorry). That said, the question of “how many is too many?” is entirely personal- what may not work for me, may work for someone else and so on. The only thing I’d advise is to make sure all the characters are relevant/add something to the story and it’s easy to tell them apart.

Third Person Omniscient

tess of the d'urbervillesThe *I SEE EVERYTHING* narrator. I’ve seen people argue that this cannot be mixed with Third Person Limited- I personally view this as poppycock, given a blend of the two types of point of view make up the likes of many a-great novel (I’m thinking of Hardy as a fantastic example, though there would be far too many for me to list). Yes, sometimes an omniscient narrator can see inside a character’s head- they’re all-knowing, it’s not implausible!

Accounting for Personal Taste

When it comes to my own choices, I’ve used most of these at different times- so I really don’t have a strong preference. I think the most important choice is what kind of story do you want to tell? When the focus is on “coming of age” for instance, I prefer first person. And when it’s an epic, I feel like it’s got to be omniscient to have that extra *oomph this shit’s important*. But that’s just me, everyone makes different choices, and they all work in their own way.

Other posts in this series:

Pared down vs Purple prose – Differences in Style #1

The art of Intertextuality vs Innovation – Differences in Style #2

And that’s all for now! Do you have a personal preference? Disagree or agree with anything I’ve said here? Let me know in the comments!

Advertisements

Don’t Write X

thoughts orangutan

A couple of months back, I did a post about taste. But when I did it I was thinking more about readers than writers. Now, I don’t talk about this much, but I do actually write a lot (I know, what a surprise, the book blogger writes 😉 ) and I’ve thought an awful lot about what it can be like navigating the landmine of opinion pieces on what you should and shouldn’t write. I don’t know about you, but I personally think there’s a helluva lot of confusing advice out there, mostly of people telling others what to do according to their own taste. There’s a lot of “DON’T WRITE X”, “WRITE MORE Y”, “DON’T WRITE Z UNLESS YOU ARE Z”. In truth, I find it somewhat exhausting, especially since my view is pretty much write whatever the hell you like. To clarify, I’m not telling writers to ignore criticism (errr yeah, do that at your own peril I guess) and I’m not telling reviewers not to review (this is not me hanging up the bananas!!!), merely suggesting that sometimes a lot of the forceful generalisations are more a matter of taste. And I think some people would be well served if they knew that- which is why I decided to devise a list of instructions… on how to not take instructions (that made so much more sense inside my head). Here’s some of the ways you can avoid falling into the my-personal-taste-is-better-than-yours trap:

people pleaseDon’t try to people please. I know a lot of people go into it wanting validation from millions of people- however the thing is even if you get to be a bestseller, there will be people who hate your work. It’s a sad fact of life. One thing I’ve noticed whenever I do some piece where I talk about what I don’t like, like my least favourite fantasy tropes, is that someone will read what I’ve written and be discouraged. I always want to tell people that I am just one person and while I’m not going to pretend I’m  into things I’m not interested in, there are plenty of other bookworms out there who I’m sure will love it. This is something I try to do with my own work, because honestly I don’t see the point in pushing my writing on people who will hate it- that’s a road to ruin! So fly your freak flag and write whatever you like- just don’t make demands or be insulted if people don’t want to read your work.

colouring inDon’t try to do “paint by numbers” writing- I see a lot of people breaking down *exactly* how they think a novel should work. And while there’s a lot of good advice there, take it with a pinch of salt. Cos I’ve read some of the books based on those standards and yeesh– they’re boring. Again, this is my personal take, yet there’s no easy instruction manual when it comes to writing. Be prepared to mess up and to fail, but don’t be afraid to experiment. Incidentally, one way to get round this problem is…

read-fastDo read lots of books– I mean this is a no brainer, but I always have to put it in because there are still writers who say they don’t read and GAH I CAN’T EVEN! That said…

 

coolDon’t worry too much about being original– or being too original for that matter. I kind of wrote this one for me, because I have a freakout about this on a regular basis to be fair. But it’s silly, because, to use the corniest quote in the world “there’s nothing new under the sun”. I think it’s important to strike a balance- don’t be afraid to do something different, but don’t worry too much if something’s been done before. There are always those who will like either or both!

style orangutan logoDo understand that there are different writing styles and that *it’s okay* to employ one of the less popular ones. This is probably one of the issues of taste I see around the most and have been trying to address this for a while with my “differences in style” series (okay not recently, but I hope to rectify that soonish). I find a lot of people favour particular styles and then turn them into *universal rules*- which only work for said style. One of the best ways to combat this is to know about a variety of different techniques, so you can deliberately choose the best ones from your arsenal, rather than being subject to the whims of fashion or personal opinion.

bad writing gigDon’t get bogged down by pedants. Again, this comes from some criticism I see about a lot and usually comes down to things like specific word choice in world building. An example of this could be the widespread criticism of the word “hell” in Zenith, because it was space fantasy (which I personally didn’t agree with, since it was written in English and as one of the critiques said “every culture has an idea of hell”). We all have things that bug us, and that’s fine, we can’t help having pet peeves- however as okay as it is for someone to critique a word choice, I wouldn’t take it too much to heart.

choose books2Don’t steer clear of controversial content (aka “don’t listen to moral busybodies”). We all have our personal limits and every individual has content they don’t want to read, however, there are also people who take this one step further and say “my personal taste is more important than your art”. For instance, I have seen people saying things like “I object to the book because it has such and such theme”. Again, this is not to say you shouldn’t critique it, in whatever terms you like, yet it’s not a good reason to avoid writing about what you want. Even if it doesn’t resonate with one person, someone else will like it.

writingDo worry about your own personal experience- and don’t get bogged down in trying to make it universal for everyone. This is very similar to the last one, because I know there are a lot of people who will tell you “ah but it didn’t speak to *my* experience”. Well, I hate to break it to that hypothetical person: there are billions of other people on the planet. The idea that a book has to speak to every single individual experience is frankly absurd. The only reason to get offended is if you commissioned said book as a biography 😉 If you’re concerned that it’s not going to be “real” for everyone… good news, it’s not real! So this kind of goes back to #1- it’s not worth seeking validation from everyone. As cheesy as it is, you’re not writing for everybody, you’re writing for you.

And that’s all I have for now. I have a few more personal ones, but I thought I’d leave it there, or I wouldn’t be speaking to a universal experience- JK! 😉 Do you agree or disagree with any of these? And do you have any other ideas to add to this list? Let me know in the comments!

3 Year Bloggiversary! Things I’ve Learnt as a Blogger

3 year bloggiversary

Hello all! Well, according to the powers that be over at WordPress, this just so happens to be my third bloggiversary! (well the anniversary of when I got the domain name- we’ll get to what a lousy blogger I was when I started out in a mo 😉 ). To mark the occasion, I took inspiration from Laura @LFBook‘s fantastic “Things I’ve Learnt as a Blogger” series (really recommend checking it out) and decided to share what I’ve discovered about blogging in the last three years!

thoughts orangutan

Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. Before I even started, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t hold back. Aside from being a pretty frank person, I will admit that a lot of this came from being told what I could and couldn’t say IRL. Because I’m a contrarian I decided to stick two fingers up to the busybodies who wanted to tell me what to do 😉 And you know what, even though I’ve touched on some controversial topics over the years, some of which have made me nail-bitingly nervous, I’m glad that I did it. Granted, sometimes I have had to deal with people less than pleased about what I have to say- and you know what? That’s okay. I can deal with it, I’m a big monkey 😉 (also, I have bananas and I’m not afraid to use them 😉 )

On the flipside, I don’t regret the things I didn’t say. Yes, that’s right, I can actually bite my tongue sometimes 😉 As I mentioned in my Drafts, Drafts and More Drafts post, there are posts I’ve decided to shelve for various reasons. It can be good to weigh things up- for instance “will this gripey whiny post about some schmuck annoying me make me feel better?” If the answer’s no, I might just leave it.

Another thing I’ve learnt is to expect the unexpected. Not a lot of people know this, but the first three months of blogging this site was like a virtual graveyard. I’m pretty sure we all go through that at some point tbh. And it’s not like I was expecting anything to grow out of it- frankly the whole project started as a way for me to *shout into the void*. But man, I have to admit that when I started interact more, it became *so much more awesome*. Massive thank you to Zezee for being the first ever person to tag me in something and consequently share one of my posts (yes, I remember that sort of thing 😉 )  I was staggered after that when people started reading, commenting and actually enjoying the content. Which leads me onto…

Blogging is only as fun as you make it! Like I said, I was a lousy blogger when I started and while I had fun writing the posts, it got SO MUCH BETTER once I started to relax and try out new things. I really love making people laugh and if I can make just one person crack a smile, then that’s a good day 😀 I realised how much better blogging is when other people can get something out of it.

Speaking of my early days as a blogger, people are not lying when they say consistency is key. I mean, of course I started out doing that wrong as well 😉 And I may sound really thick for stating the obvious, but I took a while to figure out that when you post more, more people are likely to read *mindblown* 😉

Now I have to say to take that last one with a pinch of salt- because obviously IT IS OKAY TO TAKE BREAKS. (And yes, I’m writing that in capitals, cos I still sorta need to learn that one!) The thing is, blogging can be stressful, we all have lives beyond our blogs and heaven knows we can’t be online as much as we’d like to. In fact, I know that I’m going to have to take a break soon. And that’s *okay*. I still have to keep reminding myself not to apologise at the start of every blog for some misplaced guilt, cos contrary to what my British-brain thinks, constantly saying “sorry!” can be a bit of a pain.

Also, ARCs are not the be all and end all. I can’t be the only person that didn’t have the faintest idea what an ARC was when I started. But when I found out, it would have been easy to get swept up in the allure of *advanced review copies*. That said, I’m really glad I didn’t immediately jump on the ARC train. And, when I found out, I didn’t immediately jump on the ARC train. I let myself think about it for a whole year, before deciding that, yeah, I could fit about one a month into my schedule. Everyone does ARCs differently, which is cool, but I’m very selective cos of that. Even with this small number of requests (combined with how often I get rejected lol) I *still* manage to fall behind in the reviewing side of things, so I’m glad I have this strict rule in place. Especially cos it means that I do a happy dance every time I get an ARC 😉 Which brings me to…

Celebrate every milestone. Sure, I may not shout about everything all the time on here, but I guarantee that I’m SCREAMING WITH JOY INSIDE. Watching this teeny corner of the internet grow has been amazing and I so appreciate each and every one of you that’s makes the blogosphere the most wonderful place to be! And I wanted to say a personal thank you to everyone who nominated and voted for me in the Annual Book Blogger Awards. I’ve been too busy to get involved but it made me feel very honoured. And with that, all that’s left to say is…

party on dudes.gif

What have you learnt from blogging? Let me know in the comments!

My Complicated Relationship with Harry Potter

thoughts orangutan

Ooh this post is not going to make me popular. In fact it might be the most controversial post I ever do. Harry Potter has a certain sacred status in some bookish circles and there are those who won’t have a bad word said against it- and for obvious reasons. It’s certainly a cultural phenomenon and marked the beginning of many reader’s journeys. I’m included in that group- I owe a lot to Harry Potter and I vividly remember reading the first three back when I was seven. I often cite it as the *great origins* of becoming a bookworm, because although I know there were books that came before, none played quite as big a role as the Boy Who Lived.

my harry potters

My beloved Harry Potter books

And yet, I always knew that I would end up doing a post like this one day. Because my journey with Harry Potter has not always been, shall we say, clear flying. In fact, after religiously rereading Harry Potter as often as I could in my early teens, I’ve picked up only book 1 of the series a grand total of one time in the last seven years… Until last month, when I decided to reread the whole thing (to my family’s bafflement and consequent chorus of “again?!”).

Some might say that it was predictable that I had a great deal of fun re-entering the *absolutely magical world* of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It gave me all the *warm, fuzzy feelings* I had the first time I read it. I felt like that seven year old again, rediscovering my love for the world building, the magic and the characters. Plus there was the added bonus of thinking about how well some of the “tropes” are applied here, being able to note how *phenomenal* the Easter Eggs are throughout and doing loose psychoanalytic readings (thanks to Dr Peterson!). It was an absolute pleasure to experience that childlike wonder as an adult.  

But I couldn’t reliably predict that would be my reaction. You see, part of me was expecting the same ennui I had four years ago to Philosopher’s Stone. And I had cause for even greater concern. I’ve said it before on hereHarry Potter was not just the first “big” book I read, it was also the first I critiqued. Specifically The Order of the Phoenix. I was ten when that came out and starting to be a bit more critical as a reader… and it was then that I started to find flaws. To this day, book 5 remains the one I like the least- heads up for when I review it, that’s where diehard Potterheads might want to look away! I did like it more this time round- nonetheless I will always have reservations about it.

A lot of people say that my generation grew up with the books and perhaps I just experienced a severe bout of growing pains. Either way, I have to admit that alas I did not fall head over heels for books 6 and 7 when I initially read them. For book 6, I largely had questions over the nature of Voldemort’s evil and was dissatisfied with the born that way element. And, sorry there’s no way to sugar coat this, I was disappointed with the finale. My response to the Narnia­-esque resurrection was pretty much “are you kidding me?” and I my too-cool-for-this teen sensibilities found the “love conquers all” aspect a bit lame (yeesh, I’m gonna get an army of angry comments for this- may I suggest if you do take that message to heart not getting too vitriolic about it?). I can only say that, while often viewed as more grim than the previous entries (debateable), my proclivity for darker books meant that I was dissatisfied that all Voldy did was break a few bridges and wands (and a few murders, let’s not forget those 😉 ). While the parallels with the KKK and Nazi Germany were initially shudder-inducing, the unwillingness to take this to its natural conclusion when they gained power left a lot to be desired in my eyes (what can I say, I guess I was a bloodthirsty 14 year old). If something is going to be dark, let it be dark.

Okay- phew- if you’ve made it this far into the post CONGRATULATIONS you’ve made it through my harshest criticisms. As an adult, I must admit, I’m far less critical of any childishness– if anything it’s a welcome reprieve and a comfort to know it never goes full out genocidal. Also, I can’t really hold myself accountable for every view I’ve ever held- I went through a phase of not liking Disney movies and, well, what the hell was I thinking?! Still, even though I no longer stand by a lot of the criticism in the last paragraph, I fear that any opinions I might have had, have now or might have in the future will elicit a response akin to “HOW DARE YOU SAY ANY OF THIS- CRUCIO, IMPERIO- AH FORGET IT YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR THIS WORLD- AVADA KEDAVRA!”

And that’s where I often worry about Harry Potter. Because not only am I afraid to talk about it, but I’ve seen other people discussing the pressures of the fandom (eg this fantastic article by Anushka) or even non-fans saying they’re too nervous to pick it up. That’s terrible! Why should we fear dissenting opinions? Isn’t being an individual something to be celebrated? Don’t people love the books for their appreciation of difference? What is even the point if we can’t get that right?

Maybe it’s the Ravenclaw side of me that can’t let things be- but I simply cannot respect a book I’m not allowed to critique, because that means I’m not allowed to get to the bottom of it. I have to take it apart, see what makes it tick, figure out the mechanics of the thing. I’ve spent my entire literary life dissecting both things I love and things I hate. Indeed, I’ve made a point in the past of pointing out that a lot of my favourites are decidedly not perfect. To me, that’s a mark of reverence to the book and the literature world in general.

Of course, you do not have to listen to other opinions, you’re entitled to disagree- just know I’m not trying to aguamenti cold water all over your favourite books, I’m merely trying to expelliarmus the idea that there’s only one view allowed.

So if you like that principle, stick around, I’ll be talking more about the books (I may refer to Rowling’s later comments and the movies, but at the risk of sparking a “Death of the Author” debate, I view those as interpretations). And yes, I have dressed my Orangutan up in wizard robes– I mean, I did once write myself a Hogwarts acceptance letter in green ink, posted it through the letterbox and then acted surprised when my mum gave it back to me- I don’t do things in half measures 😉

yer a wizard orangutan

Yer a wizard Orangutan!

So what do you think of criticising popular books? Do you support it? Have you been in my shoes? Or do you think I’ve overstepped the mark? Let me know in the comments!

The Joys of Rereading

Once upon a time there was a monkey who loved to reread. But as the monkey grew into a great ape, she began to feel like she had to devour all the other books (and bananas) in the world that she had not yet laid her hairy hands on. If she wanted to get to the top of the TBR Tower, there would be no time for diversions into Lands of Reading Past. However, as time went on, she began to get reader fatigue and was plagued by incessant slumps. The BIG BOOK DRAGON lurking in the back of her mind began to stir- “what about all the treasure troves of books you’ve read in the past?” She realised that her longing for magical worlds could only be sated by revisiting some of the old books she’d neglected. So the great ape got off her high horse, put the fears of the towering TBR out of her mind and picked up a series she knew she already loved. And she lived happily, bookishly after (until the next bookworm crisis). The End.

Okay, that was admittedly a very silly opening, but you get the idea, I’m here today to talk about why I love to reread books. Let’s get into the JOYS OF REREADING!

thoughts orangutan

carry onYou get to relive all your favourite memories! I mean, that’s one of the most obvious reasons to reread. I have to admit that sometimes I finish a really *amazing* book, like Carry On, and I have to flip back to my favourite parts and reread them straight away. It’s almost like a compulsion to get all the feels all over again!

 

hug a bookRereading a beloved book is like greeting an old friend– you get wrapped up in the embrace of familiarity. It’s easy to fall into step with a favourite novel, because you know exactly how it’s going to make you feel. You know which parts will make you laugh and which will make you cry. And sometimes that predictability can be a good thing.

 

chill slothBecause it’s incredibly relaxing to revisit something where you’re not fretting too much about how things turn out. Favourite books are like comfort food- there’s something heartening about them- like a snuggly jumper or a hot bowl of chicken soup (yes, that’s my comfort food 😉 ). It’s such a great way to destress as well if you’ve got a lot on your plate.

happy-runningIt’s also a fabulous way to get over a slump, because SLUMPS ARE FOR CHUMPS and we all want to get back on that reading horse as soon as possible. Sometimes just reading something we’ve read before can help. I’ve often found when I’m really struggling, I’ll go back to an old favourite and just whizzing through it will make me feel like I’m back on track. Then I get to feel like a CHAMPION!! (well, sort of 😉 )

1984 bookAnd sometimes you might learn something new into the bargain! Some books, like 1984, are endlessly complex. And no matter how many times I say “oh it’s too dark, I won’t read it again”, I know there is so much more to learn there that I will certainly *have to* read it again in the future. Plus, on the same note, though this isn’t the most joyful reason, if you need to do an exam on a book, there’s no revision as good as reading it and then reading it again and again…

rememberAnother huge positive is you might have forgotten most of it. Then it’ll be like reading it fresh! Sometimes I reread books and it gives me that “ah I remember why I fell in love with this in the first place” feeling. Given that you’ve read it and loved it before, there’s a solid chance the second time will be just as impactful. And if not, you might learn something new about yourself.

 

pride and prejudicePlus, you might even change your mind about how you feel about a book you didn’t like. Obviously, the danger of reading a book you did like is that you might not like it as much, but the MASSIVE PRO of rereading a book you didn’t like is you might change your mind. There’s always going to be books that we try at the wrong time or couldn’t get into when we first read them. For me, that was Pride and Prejudice– but I was so grateful to be set this for A Level because it made me give it another shot- and you know what? Now I love it! There are definitely other books in the world that I would love to reassess and give them a shot at a higher rating 😀

And that’s all for now- how do you feel about rereading? Yay or nay? Let me know in the comments!

Why Villains are the GREATEST!

thoughts orangutan

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about one of my favourite subjects: VILLAINS. Too often, I find myself drawn to the darker side of the story. Sure, it’s great to be noble and I love a great hero I can get invested in… yet sometimes I think the villains are a tad more fun. Sometimes I find the “Darklings” more interesting than the light bringers. Sometimes I find myself distracted by all their evilly-goodness. And I know I’m not the only one to think so, cos Trang @Bookidote wrote an awesome post a while back (which I really recommend) about why roguish characters rock! Which makes me wonder… why do we all find villains so intriguing? Let’s discuss!

i see you sauronThey provide a thrill– their terrifying ways and insane antics have a way of getting my pulse up. The more a villain gives me chills, the more likely I am to get heated over a book. Nothing makes a book more exciting than a properly scary villain. And nothing does that better than Lord of the Rings- a stroll through middle earth could involving crossing anything from wraiths, to Shelob, to hoards of orcs, to Gollum… to Sauron *shudders*.

paradise lostThey are alluring– they have to be in order to tempt the protagonist. Satan from Paradise Lost is the quintessential example of such a compelling evil character and it is Milton’s genius that he drew him thus. After all, if he were not seductive, how else are we to believe that mankind could be taken in by the literal devil? Rather than looking at Milton and screaming *SATAN WORSHIPPER* (as some are wont to do) maybe we ought to look to ourselves and wonder why it’s possible to see Satan as the hero of the story. So yeah, villains oddly attractive to the reader too.

magnetoThey can be sympathetic and that can make the story a beautiful, painful journey. I always think of Magneto as one of my favourite villains, because I feel so sorry for him, but at the same time I know he’s a complete shit- and yet I kinda want the writers to stop putting him through hell and just leave him be arghhh… So yeah, it’s another way a story can get under my skin and make me so invested in it.

carry onThey push the plot on with their antics. Because let’s face it, without something to fight against, there wouldn’t be any plot. I could literally talk about any villain here, because no story would exist without an evil force, but right now the Humdrum from Carry On has popped into my mind, because he’s certainly there to be a foil to the Chosen One (no spoilers 😉 ). Which leads us onto…

 

voldemortThey force the hero to be heroic. Usually for some personal reason like, “you killed my parents!” aka Harry Potter vs Voldemort. In turn, a personal connection can make us feel sorry for the lead. Speaking of Voldy and Harry…

 

iago othelloThey provide insight into the hero– because so often “neither can live while the other survives”. More than that, however, the best villains illuminate the flaws of the protagonist, such as how Othello mirrors Iago’s weaknesses. And thus…

 

hook.gifThey can project a possible future for what the hero might become– this is never more true than in Peter Pan, where Captain Hook represents a tyrannical patriarchal figure… the very future Pan fears becoming. All of this shows how…

 

six of crowsThey have to speak dark truths about the human soul. Indeed, sometimes it’s easier to identify with a villain, fallen into depravity and chaos, than the perfect hero. There is something *more* insightful about a baddie somehow. On one level we identify with their flaws; on a darker more primordial level, perhaps they show us what we fear we could become. Incidentally this is probably why I like anti-heroes most of all and why I fell for the Six of Crows duology.

macbeth2They create the moral questions. And really, that’s one of the ways we learn from a book. We can get lost in the psychology of a well written villain and have to find our own humanity to get back to ourselves. Shakespearean anti-heroes, like Macbeth, teach us our fallibility and our limits. It’s about knowing ourselves and identifying that little villainous voice egging us on. Learning about ourselves doesn’t stop at knowing our strengths and nothing tells us more about our weaknesses than a baddie. What they do, the lines they cross, can make us question everything- and that’s a good thing.

darth vaderThey have the chance at redemption– yes I’m one of those people whose favourite Star Wars character is Darth Vader, because he redeems himself- well, sort of… it doesn’t make up for the genocide of an entire planet… (and no, Anakin Skywalker from the prequels is not really Vader in my mind- those stupid movies don’t deserve a look in to the Star Wars universe) *Ahem* got a bit carried away there… ANYWAY redemption stories happen to be one of my absolute favourite story arcs- partly because they teach us they’re not all bad news!

So after all that, I guess it’s no wonder that a lot of us want to be “chillin’ like a villain 😉

supervillain orangutan

But am I alone in this fascination with the “dark side”? What do you think of villains? Love ’em or loathe ’em? Let me know in the comments!

Renegades VS Anarchists! Who do you choose?

*Proofs and other items received in exchange for promo post*

renegades

A while back I did an ARC review for Renegades– a superfun superhero book that plays with the Good vs Evil dynamic! On one side is the ever-so-just Renegades; on the other the allegedly evil Anarchists. In honour of the publication day (*today*) Macmillan kindly offered to send me some proofs and goodies, to pair up with a friend and discuss which is better JUSTICE OR ANARCHY. And, well, I thought that was a supercool idea 😉 So thank you to the lovely people over at Macmillan for this!

 

I decided to team up with my sister, the Monkey Baby, who read and loved the book. So today she’s back on my blog to tell us which side she prefers! After all, what’s better than a healthy bit of sisterly rivalry?

Monkey Baby: MWHAHACHI!!!!!!! 🙂 I chose…… RENEGADES!!! THEY’RE THE BEST IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE UNIVERSE!! MORE THAN THE UNIVERSE!!!

superhero monkey

Yes we got dressed up for this post 😉

Me: Which was convenient for me, because I’m team Anarchist!! (c’mon if I can pick Loki as my favourite Avenger, I’m naturally going to pick the “baddies” when both sides are morally dubious 😉 )

supervillain orangutan

Monkey Baby: Don’t be a Schmuck!!  The Renegades have the coolest gadgets and the Anarchists are EVIL!!!!! They’re the goodies!!! Captain Chromium and the Dread Warden are so sweet. They will see right in the end and everything will work out perfectly. You can’t trust the villains!!! Just look at Ingrid!!!!!

Me: Yes typically speaking I’d say they’re a bit extreme 😉 HOWEVER so are the Renegades- they pretty much exemplify what happens when the ruling elite focus too much on orderliness aka they basically become authoritarian. Aside from the fact that I can’t help rooting for the underdog, the Anarchists have a point and are right to oppose them (even if their methods aren’t ideal). Considering everything the Renegades plan to do, I’m not so sure they’re the good guys…

Monkey Baby: But Adrian will turn them into being beautifully upstanding citizens because he has a big open heart and will listen to advice whereas the Anarchists will blow everything  up. I mean c’mon they’re already saving the planet worldwide with all their cool superheroey goodness. And Adrian…. Just Adrian…..mnmmm mmmmmmm…

Me: ahh I may not have a musical number to back it up, but I prefer Nova- I mean, she is Nightmare! Could you think of more of a badass female character? She may not be as mushy as Adrian, but she has a heart! And sure, Adrian may have the power to draw anything into existence, but she’s taught herself how to do loads of cool things, and I always have a soft spot for heroes that make themselves what they are… although she’s technically a villain…

Heroes!

Villains!

Heroes!

Villains!

Heroes!

Me: Or you know, we could work together.

Monkey Baby: I mean let’s face it we’re always better together. 

And on that note, this is available *now* on Amazon UK and US.

So who would you choose? Renegades or Anarchists? Let me know in the comments!